The US and the Middle East Peace Process
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The U.S. and the Middle East Peace Process
“It is the best of times, it is the worst of times” -Charles Dickens
The Middle East and their constant struggle for peace has been in the news for years.
There has been a great deal of controversy over whether it will work and, if it will, when and how. As Secretary of State Warren Christopher said of the middle east peace process on January 18, 1996, “Today, for the first time in half a century, we stand on the threshold of ending the Arab-Israeli conflict. A comprehensive peace between Israel and its immediate neighbors, and indeed with the entire Arab world, is no longer a dream, but realistic possibility.” It is important for peace in the region to promote economic development and stability, national growth, and individual prosperity. The region is important to all people for its resources. Sixty percent of the world’s oil supply is concentrated in the region including the Persian Gulf, and the region has tremendous market potential. But, for the democratic process to take place the US must first help them to overcome poverty and ignorance.
The United Nations has been involved in trying to help achieve peace in the region since it was formed, and other countries has made numerous attempta at maintaining peace since before Israel was even a country. During the time between July, 1915 to March, 1916, the McMahon Correspondences between British High Commissioner of Cairo Sir Henry McMahon, and the Sheriff Hussein of Mecca apparently promise Arab independence in large portions of the Middle East (including Palestine, which is today Israel). Then in 1917, Christians in the United States and Great Britain, particularly Protestants, were concerned over the difficult situation of Jews in Europe. They lent sympathetic ears to the Zionist argument that providing Jews with their own home would alleviate their suffering. The Zionist movement was a movement of the Jewish people with the aim of reconstituting a Jewish state in Palestine. Due to the stories of the Old Testament, tthe Jews thought of their Holy Land in terms of Jehovah’s chosen people, not in terms of the Muslim Arab communities that have resided there for centuries. On November 2, 1917, British
Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour wrote an official letter to Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild. This letter became known as the Balfour Declaration and expresses support for a Jewish state in Palestine. The new Balfour Declaration clearly conflicts with the earlier McMahon Correspondences, thus started the conflict that will carry on throughout the century. In 1929, The White Paper, released by the British, stated that the British Government did not plan for Palestine to become a Jewish state, and placed severe limits on Jewish immigration into Palestine. This caused conflict in that it contradicted with the Balfour Declaration.
In 1937, the British Royal commission suggests a plan of partition for Palestine. This meant that Palestine would be divided into separate Arab and Jewish ststes. The Zionists thought that accepting a smaller state than they originally desired would be wise because it would be the best way of attaining early self-rule and unrestricted Jewish immigration. The Zionist Congress accepted this idea of partition, but under the condition that the Jews receive a respectably large area. The Palestine Arabs were opposed to the idea of partitioning Palestine and became more and more perturbed with Jewish land purchases and immigration. They reacted by increased acts of violence against the British which caused many of the Arab leaders to be arrested, deported, or forced to flee Palestine. The British stripped the Arabs of their weapons and killed Arab nationalists. At the same time, the British helped in arming and training the Jewish defense forces. When the Royal commission realized that the partition plan was unworkable, they invited representatives of the Palestine Arabs, the Arab states, and the Jewish Agency to London in March, 1939, to discuss a plan acceptable to all parties. Since the Arabs and Zionists continued to disagree, the London conference ended in failure.
When the British mandate almost run out in 1947, the UN proposed a plan of
partition for the region very similar to the plan proposed by the British ten years earlier. This plan would create a Jewish state and an Arab state when the British mandate ran out.
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Zionism, Mandatory Palestine, Land of Israel, Israel, Palestine, and the United Nations, Aliyah, United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, ArabIsraeli conflict, Balfour Declaration, United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, Jewish state, London Conference, Jewish Agency for Israel
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